Playing the Eigenharp outdoors

I recently bought a battery pack to be able to use some of my music gear outside or when travelling. A couple of days ago we had a lovely autumn day here in Lyon, and as we didn’t have anything important planned we decided to spend it in a nearby park. A perfect opportunity for trying out the battery!

I brought the Eigenharp in its flight case and had packed the laptop, base station, battery and headphones already connected in the carrying bag that came with the instrument. So when we arrived and found a nice spot in the sun, all I had to do was connect the Tau to the instrument cable and then turn on the battery, and that was it. Why there isn’t an option in OS X to disable sleep when the lid is closed is beyond me, but I’m using “InsomniaX” to overcome this odd limitation. So I kept the MacBook Air closed and tucked away in the bag.

So, sitting on a bench in idyllic surroundings, I could practice my electronic instrument while watching people and animals enjoying park life. It felt great! I had wanted to do this just as a fun experiment and had even brought a book for when I got bored playing. But the experience was so immersive and satisfying that when it was time to head back home I had been playing for four hours straight.

I’m not sure why playing in a park was so enjoyable to me. I mean, I always like doing music. But normally I don’t have the patience to just sit and play an instrument for hours on end. Perhaps it was the green, tranquil environment. Or perhaps watching the activities of everyone else in the park kept my brain just the right amount of occupied while my fingers were practising the same set of movements again and again. Probably a combination of many factors at once. In any case the end result was that I completely “zoned out” and just sat there feeling happy and content. I can’t wait to do it again!

As for the technical stuff, the battery pack is an “Xtorm AL390” I got from Amazon. In addition to two outputs for USB power it also has a normal european 230V AC output. After four hours of playing the LEDs on it indicated that it had somewhere between 50% and 75% power left. The MacBook Air had 36% of battery left, which was more than I had expected. Apparently battery life gets extended quite a bit when the lid is closed since the screen is off.

The only thing I can think of I’d like to change before my next outdoor practice session is that while the Eigenharp flight case is nice for keeping the instrument safe, it is unnecessarily large and heavy for just carrying it around. It started to feel heavy after a while. So the plan now is to ask around in Lyon for someone that can help me make a lightweight carrying bag in canvas or cloth with a shoulder strap.

Two months with a MacBook Air for audio

A while back I was writing about whether or not to introduce a computer to our setup. Now that I’ve had my MacBook Air for close to two months I wanted to write a follow-up on my experience so far.

So, was it a good idea? I’m still not sure, actually. I have some frustrating technical issues that I need to solve somehow. But when things behave, I am really, really pleased with the results I am getting. One minute I am having tons of fun playing and exploring all the new possibilities, the next I’m distracted by something I “have” to fix and google unix syntax for how to change process priorities or some very un-musical nonsense like that.

OS X failed to make a good first impression right out of the gate. It wouldn’t even start up properly and I had to go online on another computer to figure out how to even get through the initial setup. I took this as an omen of what I had coming, and sure enough, the next weeks were spent trying to solve a seemingly endless series of technical problems. Most have been ironed out by now, however, and since the main task of the MacBook is as a companion for the Eigenharp, some of the quirky issues (like the fact that it for some reason is the only device in our household unable to download larger files from the web?!) are just minor niggles I haven’t bothered to look into.

The main task I had in mind for the Mac was to run EigenD (the software for the Eigenharp), route audio and midi from that to soft synths hosted by MainStage 3 and then send audio from that to our Steinberg MR816 firewire sound card. However, I can not get a reliable audio stream from EigenD, even with ridiculously large audio buffers. From what I understand, EigenD uses the JUCE library for handling audio, so perhaps I can solve this by compiling EigenD with the latest version of JUCE? I might look into that at some point, but it really isn’t that big a deal. I wanted the physically modelled EigenD cello sound, but because of the soft synth Sculpture (more on that later on) I don’t really miss it. So I’ve removed audio out from my EigenD setup and have left it at that for the time being.

A much more serious issue is that the Mac seems to freeze for half a second once in a while for no apparent reason. What happens is that, say, a steady midi stream of notes just suddenly stop playing for a short while. Then the notes play in quick succession to “catch up” the lost time. What is worse, the firewire audio drops out completely during these hiccups, and when it gets back it is usually nasty and loud for a good five or six seconds before it starts sounding OK again. As a work-around, I have the sound card running without being connected to a computer and then connect the headphone outs on the Mac to analog inputs on the sound card. The hiccups are still there, but the headphone audio doesn’t drop out. Sound quality suffers, obviously, and the latency isn’t great, but it will have to do for now.

I’ve done all the tweaks and OS configurations for optimal audio performance I could find on reliable online resources. But I still can’t get things working properly. I’m pretty sure El Capitan is the main culprit. Apparently OS X 10.11 is causing a lot of problems for musicians. By the looks of things I just happened to get a Mac at the worst possible time to do so. So hopefully a bit of patience and some new OS and/or driver updates is all that is needed to get things sorted. If not, I should probably consider downgrading to OS X 10.10 instead.

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 15.08.55

Physical modelling synth “Sculpture”, bundled with Logic and MainStage

But enough about the bad stuff, there are good sides to this, too! I own Cubase, but since that seemed like overkill just for hosting VSTs, I installed MainStage 3 instead. I knew the sample based ROMpler Alchemy was bundled with MainStage and that it recently had received MPE support (and therefore would work well with my Eigenharp). But Alchemy was all but forgotten the moment I discovered another bundled MPE synth called Sculpture. Sculpture features a combination of physical modelling and classic synth elements and has turned out to be an amazing sound source for the Eigenharp. The two as a team produce some wonderfully expressive, acoustic sounds. Not necessarily emulating real instruments, but at least sounding like something that could exist in the real world. The MPE implementation seems to be slightly buggy, but still, creating patches in Sculpture and playing them from the Eigenharp is great fun and suits our kind of music.


A week ago I finally took a proper look at Aalto, as well. This is a 4-voice semi-modular virtual analog synth with a very distinct sound. The interface for Aalto is brilliantly conceived, which means creating sounds is quick and easy. What makes Aalto particularly interesting to me is that as an alternative to MPE Midi it can use OSC with a protocol for expressive note data called T3D. Since EigenD also supports T3D, the Eigenharp can control Aalto without having to go via the archaic midi standard at all. The result is a superior playing experience. Now, the placebo effect might very well play tricks on me, sure, but knowing that Aalto receives high resolution time-stamped data from the Eigenharp feels responsive and nice. Obviously, the minor MPE issues in Sculpture is not present, either.


The brilliant user interface of Madrona Labs Aalto.

3TD/OSC is not the only reason I have already taken quite a liking to Aalto. As it happens, it is very similar both in features and sound to my Pittsburgh Modular eurorack. Even if I’m new to Aalto it instantly felt familiar and I knew what kind of sounds I could expect to get from it. It IS a synth that encourages experimentation and that has some cool, less than obvious tricks up its sleeves. But I suspect I have already explored most of them on my modular, which in this case I consider a good thing. Sometimes it is nice to know a synth intimately and be able to quickly get the results one want. For uncharted sonic territory, Aalto’s younger sibling Kaivo would probably be more suited. I don’t own Kaivo and aren’t even close to growing tired of Aalto and Sculpture yet. So Kaivo will have to wait for now. Still, it is nice to know there is even more great software in wait for my Eigenharp!

Ramblings on computers, hardware and creativity

I’ve been using computers for music most of my life. My teenage years were spent in front of ProTracker on the Amiga. Good times. As I now remember the experience, things just worked. I hit the power switch on the Amiga, and a couple of weird floppy drive noises later ProTracker was there. Composing tunes were done with the keyboard, not by clicking on a screen with a mouse. Instant response, instant gratification, and most importantly, no distractions or hassle. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the years whizzed by since then probably trick me into romanticising those early years of computer based music. However, the long list of tracks I made during that period still stands as a testimony to the fact that things got done. And that I had fun doing them.

Eventually, the Amiga got replaced with a PC running Cubase, and with it the revolution that was VST technology. The possibilities now appeared to be endless, and I was more than happy to be tempted to a solid serving of this remarkable new frontier of music technology. At the time, I regrettably didn’t notice the pointy red tail protruding from the shadows. Nor the faint scent of sulphur. Over the ten next years, making music degenerated into driver issues, software updates, IRQ conflicts, progress bars and blue screens of death. Even when things actually worked, I was wiggling virtual knobs with a mouse, wading through endless lists of presets in endless lists of plugins. I rarely actually made anything at all, and after a while, creating music simply stopped being fun. The weak scent had turned into a nauseating stench and I didn’t sit down in front of my DAW unless I absolutely had to. I thought I had lost interest in music altogether.

Image of Kai in our studio loft

Nowadays we are using a Korg ElectribeMX, an Octatrack, an A4, a Pittsburgh modular synth, an Eigenharp and VoiceLive Touch 2 on most of our tracks.

Years later, my wife took an interest in electronic music and started exploring various ipad apps. I soon joined her with the only hardware synth I still owned, and we had a great time. So we kept at it. As ambitions grew, so did our setup, and we now use physical gear that allows for a fast, hassle-free workflow.

We jam until we feel we have something interesting going on, and then do a multitrack recording to an ipad. Usually we have to record a couple of times before we are happy with the result. Sometimes we spend several days to get things right, but more often than not, our track is recorded and uploaded to Soundcloud while the idea still feels fresh to us. The process does not feel like a chore at all.

There are obvious downsides to this way of working. Our setup allows us to work fast, but it is not flexible. If doing something means breaking up the creative flow we’re in, we make do without it. There are times when an idea with potential withers because we didn’t allow ourselves to nurture it into what it could have been. In these cases, working systematically with that idea in a DAW would have been good for the end result. But then again, without our self-imposed restrictions some of our best ideas would not have seen the light of day at all. Creativity in limitations and all that. More important than anything else is enjoying what we’re doing. An evening spent jamming a track into shape while comfortably seated in the couch with instruments and a bottle of wine is quality time. Two office chairs, a mouse and a computer screen significantly less so.

Image of Irene in our studio loft.

Irene playing the Electribe MX. We also play around with other synths, guitars and iPad-apps like Thumbjam and SoundPrism.

I’m writing about this now because there have been an annoying debate inside my head whether to introduce a MacBook Air to our setup or not. The idea is not to use it as a DAW, but for softsynths and a tool to simplify our setup. We have our gear connected to sound cards running in stand alone-mode. With a laptop connected to one of the cards we can use the sound card mixer software to change what goes where without physically having to re-cable anything. Also, Madrona Labs Aalto/Kaivo are likely to be excellent software synths for the Eigenharp. As we just sold our old hardware rompler, a nice-sounding software replacement that can be sequenced from the Octatrack have potential to be a really nice bonus.

I finally ordered the Mac, but I am still uncertain if this is a road we should go down or not. I can easily imagine it becoming a distraction and an unreliable trouble maker. I can also imagine it being an extremely useful addition. With a couple of weeks to wait for it to arrive, we won’t know just yet. Fingers crossed.

The day we switched instruments

A cold, freezing evening in January. Static electricity from all that wool we have to wear these days was a potentially lethal combination with all our knobs and sliders. Living i Norway, we had barely seen sunlight since October.

We were out of ideas and inspiration. Our cat was grumpy from staying indoors, and so were we.

I had also noticed that many of our friends and family, who we spam with our music on a weekly basis, assumes that I just do the vocals on our tracks. Especially on a day like this, this was irritating.

What to do? How to lift our spirits so that we could create?

The idea popped up when Kai was showing me the principles of his Pittsburgh modular. The solution was simple: we switched instruments and roles.

He started making drum patterns and quirky sounds on my Electribe, while I created a patch on the modular and made some melodic loops on the Eigenharp which I then recorded to the Octatrack.

Because we changed our regular roles, Kai had to sing. He cranked up the autotune on the VoiceLive Touch and recorded the lead vocal.

The funny thing is that this track still sounds like Tic Tic. Over the years we have developed a common ground with sounds we both like and a common feel for how a song should evolve. Often we have trouble pointing out which sounds are mine, and which are Kai’s. In a couple of weeks, odds are this will happen with this track as well.






Getting started with Axoloti

I was a backer of Axoloti, a crowdfunded micro-controller board with inputs and outputs for audio and midi, as well as both USB client and host capabilities. The board is programmed with graphical patching software in similar to Max/MSP. I received my board shortly after I got my Eigenharp, and so I was too busy with EigenD and my new instrument at the time to give Axoloti much thought.

Anyways, as luck would have it, Mark Harris, a resourceful Eigenharpist and EigenD developer had gotten involved in Axoloti. One of his many contributions was adding MPE support, making Axoloti a convenient sound source for the Eigenharp and the other PMCs. As I result I’ve been planning on creating some MPE patches for a while now, and the other day I finally got started.


A sub-patch representing a single voice, which is then added as an object to the (bottom right) main patch and routed to the audio out.

Creating synth patches turned out to be mostly like using a modular synth. The patching software was easy to use and the objects I wanted, like oscillators and filters were easily found and cabled up. A minor oddity is that a polyphonic patch is made out of a sub-patch containing a single voice and then a “parent” main patch to which that sub-patch is added. Once I had gotten used to this concept, creating a couple of simple, but expressive polyphonic sounds was straight-forward. The CPU power of a board like this is limited, obviously, but more than enough for what I wanted to do. As I’m routing the Axoloti through my Analog Four, using the effect section on that is more convenient than having resource-heavy effects as part of the patches anyways.

With a small collection of usable sounds, the next task was to figure out how to switch between them from the Eigenharp. An Axoloti patch can be compiled to a binary and loaded from SD-card. So the plan was to have the patches stored on the card and then find a way to make Axoloti load a given patch when it received a midi program change message. Creating synth sounds had been easy, but this part felt intimidating. I had a vague idea of what needed to be done and knew it would be possible. But I did not know how.


My simple startup patch. I’m pretty sure there are better ways than the LFO to trigger the load object, but this was the first idea I came up with, and it worked, so I left it like this and moved on.

The first problem I needed to solve was what would happen when the card was powered on without a computer connected. Luckily that was an easy one to tackle. If there is a “STARTUP.BIN” file present on the SD-card, that will be automatically loaded to the board. I first considered having one of my sounds as a startup patch, but decided against it. I didn’t like the thought of having duplicate patches that both would need to be updated if I made changes to the sound. Instead I decided to make a simple startup patch that in turn just loads a given file name. In my case, that file would eventually become “MPE_001.BIN”. I found an object that sounded like it would do the job, connected it and it worked right away. Nice!

The next part was harder. I would need to find a way to map incoming program change messages to specific files on the card and load them. My first idea was to make some kind of string array with file names and use the program change value as an index. But I couldn’t get that to work.

My controller sub-patch that loads files corresponding to program change message numbers.

With a bit of help from the excellent Axoloti forums I instead tried an object that would generate a string from a prefix, an index number and a suffix. So by naming my files as “MPE_001.BIN”, “MPE_002.BIN”, etc, that object would create the file names I wanted from an incoming integer value. I still couldn’t get patches to load, though, and eventually gave up for the night. The next morning, and to my surprise, everything behaved as expected. Apparently a reboot or reloading the software had resolved whatever it was that had had me stumped for hours the day before.

When a patch gets loaded, the previous one is gone from memory. So the logic to load files on program change messages needs to be part of every patch. The most obvious way to deal with this would be to create a sub-patch and add it to all my sounds. However, a newly added feature of the Axoloti software allows for a “controller patch” to be automatically added to a patch when it is compiled. So I added my controller patch in the Axoloti settings menu and re-compiled my sounds. I then renamed them to to file names I wanted, and also added duplicates of the startup patch as “dummy” files for the first 16 program change numbers where a real patch didn’t exist yet.



The new EigenD keygroup and midi program chooser agent.

And so the Axoloti part of the setup was done. All that was left was adding the functionality for selecting programs from the Eigenharp to my EigenD setup. I was expecting to have to map belcanto scripting phrases to certain keys with talker agents, but that is a rather inelegant solution. However, I discovered a “Midi Program Chooser” agent made (again by Mark Harris) which made the EigenD setup a breeze. So I added a dedicated prgram change page to my setup, made a keygroup of 16 keys (thinking 16 programs ought to be enough for the time being) and connected it to the program chooser agent. I then first tried connecting the program chooser agent to my existing main midi out agent, but that didn’t work. I don’t know why I can’t connect several agents to the same midi output, but I remembered encountering this issue before and just added a new midi out agent instead. And I was done!

The whole project turned out to be quite a bit of work since I didn’t really knew what I was doing. But the result is that the Eigenharp now has a dedicated sound source that is easy to add more sounds to. Both the Raspberry Pi running EigenD and Axoloti are hidden away in a drawer, out of sight and always connected. So now, whenever I want to use the Eigenharp, all I have to do is pick it up and start playing!

The making of a Tic Tic song

On sunday the 23th of August I wake up to a video in my newsfeed of syrian refugees being shot at with teargas at the macedonian border. Children are crying, and the images show total despair.

Meanwhile, in Norway, there is an ongoing election-campaign. Our Minister of finance, Siv Jensen, is urging our country´s municipalities (kommuner) not to house more refugees.

The norwegian parliamentary have just agreed upon taking in 8000 more refugees from Syria over a time span of three years. A ridicolously small number, but Jensen´s party, Fremskrittspartiet, opposes even this.

The lyrics
This makes me angry and sad. I write down the lyrics before I forget this feeling of powerlessness and sadness:

They should know better,
but previous wars have made them hard.

We should know better,
but 50 years of wealth make us afraid.

They will ruin everything we have made,
fear and hate are our names.

I send the lyrics to Kai who is in Oslo for the weekend. I suggest that our next song will be an angry song

about the refugee crisis. As it happens, he has brought the Octatrack with him. On the train back to Kristiansand, he starts making some of the drum-patterns.

Elektron Octatrack on a train desk.

The Elektron Octatrack on a train. Making music while travelling.

The next evening we decide the tempo (130 bpm) and that this will be a heavy song. I start making the dark bass and the rythmic synth (“the helicopter”) on my Electribe, while Kai experiment on the Pittsburgh modular.

We work on the sounds separately and only listen in to check if we are on the same track.

The evolution
We now have the skeleton for the song and try out things together. From now on the song goes through an evolution. Sounds and ideas that just do not fit, is discarded.

I am particularly fond of the sound of a baby crying, that I made on the Electribe and want to overuse it, luckily Kai holds me back.

Some of his drums do not sound good together with the rest, so they have to go.

We make the melody and record the vocals the next day, using a Voice Live Touch. We put the vocal tracks on the Octatrack and can’t wait for the sunday to come when we have time to record it.

The recording
Now we have all the bits and pieces we need to play around with, and jam the song into place. I love this creative process when the song makes it’s first appearance.

When we have decided the structure and which sounds to use where, we rehearse a couple of times. Talking and playing through the song, part by part. We plug in the iPad and press record in Cubasis.

We record on separate tracks (electribe, vocals, octatrack, pgh modular). This time we only do minor adjustments, turning the volume of the Pittsburgh Modular down a bit.

Kai masters the song on the iPad, while I make the cover picture. Half an hour later we upload the track to Soundcloud.

Step away from the computer
Digital musicmaking and Soundcloud make it possible to create music anywhere and distribute it right afterwards. We make our music on tabletops and hardware synths and have a lot more fun than spending a lot of time finetuning on a desktop computer.

Elektron Analog Four with Polyphonic Multidimensional Controllers (PMCs)

When I decided to get an Eigenharp, it was with the intention of mainly using it as a controller for my existing hardware instruments. Controlling hardware synths with polyphonic multidimensional controllers seemed to be less than ideal because of the limitations of midi, so I was a bit worried this might not work out as well as I had hoped.

Elektron Analog Four

The A4 works quite well as an PMC sound source.

Luckily, my worries were mostly unfounded. In particular, the Analog Four turned out to be a decent partner for the Tau. The A4 is a small, 4 voice analog desktop synth tightly integrated with a powerful step sequencer. The synth engine itself is decent, but on its own not all that exciting. It is in combination with the sequencer that it really shines. It does, however, have a couple of unusual features that might be of interest for owners of one of the multidimensional controllers.

One of them is that it has four configurable CV outputs. I set them up to respond to pitch, modwheel, aftertouch and breath on a specific midi channel so that I could play my modular with the Tau. On paper the A4 supports 14bit for the types of messages I used, but a firmware bug means only 7bit modwheel CCs can be used at the moment.

A limitation of midi means that a single channel of midi data can’t be modulated independently. A single note of a chord can’t be pitch bent alone, for instance. All notes of the chord would be bent simultanously. To overcome this, multiple midi channels needs to be used, one for each voice. This is often referred to as “Voice per Channel”, or “VpC”. The A4 is at heart four mono voices, so VpC setup is simply a matter of loading the same sound four times. Also, all four voices combined are stored together as a “kit”, which can be changed by a program change msg or single keypress. So one can have a collection of kits that one basically can treat as VpC presets.

When loading a preset to a kit, the kit keeps a separate “copy” of the sound for each of the four voices. This means that tweaking a preset and saving it on one channel doesn’t update the other three. Reloading a preset to the remaining channels is just a couple of quick button presses, but I keep forgetting to do so. So when editing a sound I need to turn off VpC, play the patch monophonically until I’m happy with it and then save and reload. A minor inconvenience, but one that most synths synths wouldn’t have.

The A4 is designed to jump back and forth between lots of different sounds on a single, monophonic channel without glitches. It also has a multimap feature that maps various presets to specific notes. I use this to play a collection of drum sounds from the percussion keys, but since the multimap feature also allows for specific notes to switch patterns, specific keys can be used for song arrangements and selecting kits/presets as well.

Lastly, Elektron recently released “Overbridge”. What that does is integrate the A4 with a computer via USB. It allows the A4 to act as a sound card if one wants it to, and it also adds a VSTi that remote controls all parameters of the synth. As an experiment I loaded the VSTi in EigenD and controlled the CV outputs directly, avoiding midi altogether. It worked as expected, meaning I could bypass the 7bit midi CC restriction and control my modular with much higher resolution.

The Eigenharp Tau

Eigenharp Tau

The keys are very sensitive in all three directions and light up when touched.

I’ve been fascinated by the Eigenharp since I first read about it in a SoundOnSound article 5-6 years ago. Recently I finally decided to order a Tau. I’ve had it for a month now, and have spent as much time with it as I can. These are my thoughts so far:

Wow! I didn’t think the Tau looked all that great in pictures, but in real life it looks nice. The weight, feel of the keys, etc. add to the feeling of holding a quality instrument. Playing it is a very pleasant, ergonomic experience, but it takes a while to get used to the sensitive keys.

The really important part, which is also the most difficult to describe in words, is how the direct connection between every slight movement of ones fingers and the resulting sound is very different from using traditional keys. Instead of pressing keys that in turn trigger sounds, one is shaping the sounds directly, and that feels great.

EigenD, the software part of the Eigenharp, was confusing at first. My first impression of it wasn’t all that great, but it has grown on me. One isn’t required to spend much time with it, as premade setups are provided. But being of a geeky disposition, I have spent a lot of time creating my own setup from scratch and learning the basics of “belcanto”, the underlying scripting language. It is a very clever piece of software, but unusual and rather complex.

The workbench editor in EigenD. Not necessary to learn, but well worth the effort.

The Workbench editor in EigenD. Learning it is not required, but well worth the effort.

If one is willing to put in the effort to learn EigenD properly it is a very powerful tool, not only for the Eigenharp, but for integrating other gear as well. But learning how to use it is hard work and probably not for everyone. EigenD is free, opensource, and does not require an Eigenharp.

In use
I’m surprised how much the way the instrument is set up affects my playing style. I do things very differently on the Tau from what I’d do using a midi keyboard. And how I decide to map the Tau to my gear again completely changes how I play. What this mean is that when I’m creating a new synth patch I’m suddenly starting to consider not only the sound, but how that sound should be played. With piano keys? With a bow? Perhaps like a wind instrument or a guitar? That decision in turn have a huge impact on the end result. For piano style sounds I still prefer a midi keyboard to the Eigenharp, but having a collection of different configurations for the Tau and then selecting one that suits what I’m aiming for is really nice.

My favourite Tau configuration so far is with a feature in EigenD called “Strummer”. It treats each of the four key rows as if they were the strings on a bass guitar. The strings are strummed with the percussion keys and one can even use common guitar playing techniques like hammer-ons and pull-offs. This way of playing a synth quickly felt natural and the resulting riffs sound completely different from anything I’d think of playing on traditional keys.

Being able to play the Eigenharp well will take a lot of practice. I try to keep my playing simple for the time being. As a beginner I find slowly evolving pads and drones easy to do, but the moment I try something fancy like fast finger runs I accidentally hit adjacent keys and also unintentionally bend notes.

I don’t want a computer as part of my setup, so I installed EigenD on a Raspberry Pi 2 that autoboots into EigenD with a midi setup. That means the software runs on a tiny, noiseless box hidden away in a drawer. I have EigenD configured so that I can still change common settings, like switching octaves, scales, midi channels etc, directly from the Eigenharp. As a result I don’t miss having visual access to the software. But it also means I’m losing out on the software instruments in EigenD, as well as a lot of great VSTis that would have sounded amazing played from the Eigenharp. But for the time being I’m happy with midi and hardware gear only. Many seems to be running EigenD on a “headless” Mac mini stuck on top of the Eigenharp base station, so if the urge to run software instruments gets too strong, that might be an option worth considering.